When she was a little girl of seven and a half, her parents brought home two little bundles of peeping, gray fluff. They told her they were baby goslings and she named them Guss-Guss and Goose-Goose. In those days they lived in a little house in the country and all their neighbors owned farm animals of one sort or another. Some kept cows, others goats, and of course just about everybody had chickens. But only they had geese, and she thought she was just about the luckiest girl on her road!
They followed her everywhere in the quarter acre yard. She would play her little bamboo flute, and they would waddle along behind through the knee-deep grass peeping to the tune she made.
One morning while they were out playing, she noticed the old couple next door looking at her and shaking their heads. Later that afternoon they came over to talk to her parents. They said,
“We’re concerned about your daughter, because lately she’s been runnin’ around in the field talking to herself all day!”
Her parents had no idea what was going on, and of course were concerned. Standing on the front porch, they called her to come in.
Thinking she was in trouble again, she took her time walking back. When she finally stepped out of the tall grass, out tumbled the goslings behind her.
Suddenly all the grownups began to laugh at the sight of her. She just stood there holding her ten-cent flute, looking confused, with the baby geese dibbling at her dirt stained feet.
Then the old woman looked back at her parents and said,
“We thought she was talking to an imaginary friend all this time!”
They all laughed again, which was her clue that she wasn’t in trouble this time. Sighing softly, she felt relieved.
She and the goslings became good friends over the summer, and by summer’s end the goslings had grown into fine-looking geese… and because they had bonded to the her they still wanted to follow her everywhere she went. Well into the first month of school, she found herself late for the bus and had to walk all the way to school…
The geese followed.
When she got there she wanted to share them with everybody, but the Principal told Her,
“You can’t have geese in school because it is against the rules.” He then told her to “Go wait outside with your geese.”
Disappointed, she went outside to sit on the bench while he telephoned her mother to come get them. When mother arrived there were all her friends, standing around and asking questions about the geese.
When the bell rang for class to begin her friends took off to line up. Silently she got up and walked over to help load them into the back of the station wagon. Her mother carefully closed the back door and turned to her. The look on her face was not hard to understand, it said…
“OK this time, but never again.”
And she didn’t… Ever.